TheFace: Al-Bandari Waeel Al-Ajlan, Saudi visual artist and dentist

TheFace: Al-Bandari Waeel Al-Ajlan, Saudi visual artist and dentist
Al-Bandari Waeel Al-Ajlan. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 25 October 2019

TheFace: Al-Bandari Waeel Al-Ajlan, Saudi visual artist and dentist

TheFace: Al-Bandari Waeel Al-Ajlan, Saudi visual artist and dentist

Al-Bandari Waeel Al-Ajlan I am a visual artist, and a dentist, a member of “digital smile design & emotional dentistry.”

With a bachelor’s degree in dental surgery, I have been an experienced health care administrator and dentist since 2012. Emotional intelligence, emotional painting and art therapy are my areas of focus.

As a dental photography trainer, I still love making smiles in my clinic and I am a happy owner of a gallery called Phoenix_galeria, where I produce acrylic paintings.

I think they both blend beautifully together. After all, dentistry is a medical and scientific art.

I moved to the US when I was three-year-old with my mother, Dr. Hala Alkhalidi. She was the first Saudi female candidate taken for a PharmD — a clinical pharmacy scholarship — at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center.

During this time, I bounced back and forth between the US and Saudi Arabia, and as any adventure in a Disney story goes, being my father’s princess and believing in pixie dust and magic, I knew I would become the adaptive character that I am today.

Once high school came, the tools I picked up in the young walk of life would prove useful. I moved back to Riyadh to live with my grandparents while my mother stayed in the US to finish a higher degree.

Like any normal teen, the struggles were real and it was tough being different than others. Adapting to the change of language from an English-speaking country to an Arabic-speaking one was just a small feat compared to the future endeavors I later took on.

Fast forward through to the last year of high school, I was hit with bad news about my grandmother, the lady who had been taking care of and raising me, had been diagnosed with cancer.

Even though my grandmother was under treatment with a life-threatening disease, she, a strong lady herself, was adamant that I received a proper education. After not being accepted into the college of dentistry in Saudi Arabia, and with full support from my grandmother, I traveled to Egypt where I gained not only an education from October 6 University, but also some lifelong friends who became my sisters.

Unfortunately, during my second year of school, my grandmother lost her battle with cancer. The strongest woman I knew had lost but I had to keep on, knowing my education was important to her and myself. Mom then picked up the strength torch and kept me pushing on.

During my last year of school and my internship, the Jan. 25 revolution of Egypt took place, where I had to prove I had what it took to display flexibility and tenacity dealing with the trauma and surgical cases resulting from the uprising. For that, I was nominated by the head of the maxillofacial department to handle surgical cases as an intern without supervision, solely based on how I fared during that time.

I moved back to Riyadh and as a dentist the job market is a tough one. But I wasn’t discouraged. I found a job at Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Group and quickly grew in administrative positions throughout my five years of service in five different titles while maintaining emergency and Friday clinics across all branches.

After a need for change, I looked for new opportunities abroad, but I still felt like my purpose in Riyadh was not yet finished. 

In turn, I began at Dallah Hospitals. 

Living a nomadic life up to this point, change in life became the norm. So, it seemed the time had come for pursuing a friendly passion: Painting.

A previous hobby from childhood that with all the adventure never left my side and always dreamt of it being a business one day. But more importantly, it allowed an emotional expression and release during the speed bumps throughout my life. 

The relationship with emotional painting empowered by emotional intelligence and art sprouted into a new life and a new beginning ... Phoenix Galeria

The story of my future is a limitless canvas. I go on painting day by day, one color blending through another. I hope my work has a revolutionary impact on others as it did for me on both a personal and professional level.